Are you an active, passive or reactive Internet user? Impacts and even dangers of our behaviour vary from case to case.

Active online behaviour

A user who engages actively and consciously creates content and promotes or disseminates their views with direct messages, deliberately chosen images, and shares information online only after previous research and reflection. We can all be active internet users. We can create our own messages and make our own thoughts heard. We can choose whether to share discriminatory content or non-discriminatory content, but we surely need to engage with awareness raising online material and find out how to spot hidden forms of discrimination and how to counteract them with positive attitudes instead.

Passive online behaviour

A user with a passive behaviour will look at some online content and share material produced by others without prior reflection or research. Passive users can unwittingly disseminate discriminatory content in many different ways such as sharing messages by others on their own Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp etc.

Such a behaviour is considered passive as these users share online material without any reflection on the content of those messages or the implications they may have. Passive users act as followers of discourses without being conscious that their attitude has a multiplier effect on the content of the messages. We all have been passive internet users at times by liking or retweeting something without much investigation or reflection; and this may or may not have had a negative impact on others or even ourselves. In any case, we need to remember that, in order to prevent harming others or ourselves, it is best and always preferable to be an active online user.

Reactive online behaviour

Examples of reactive behaviour to online content could be starting a campaign against a discriminatory website or making a comment on Facebook under a joke with implicit stereotyping. Taking action against what we consider incorrect can be an active, reactive as well as a reflexive attitude. With such a reactive behaviour we can challenge or even stop open discrimination and raise awareness about hidden discrimination. Anyone of us can be a reactive user in everyday online contexts, therefore we all need to learn how to detect hidden forms of discrimination and find positive and non-aggressive ways to challenge it and oppose it.

Social Networks do not create discriminatory content, but enable any type of content to spread quickly, far and wide. In order to avoid the proliferation of discriminatory content online, we need to be reflexive, conscious and empathic with ourselves and others, both on and offline. We also need to promote active and reactive attitudes amongst the real and digital community so that hidden and open discrimination will be challenged and eradicated.


Many little people, in little places,
doing little things, can change the world”

Eduardo Galeano

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Are you a promoter or coordinator of an initiative or project that is addressed to fight online discrimination or working on any similar initiative that involves young people? Have you heard of or are familiar with any related initiatives or projects? We would love to hear from you!!

The project partnership is collecting good practices addressed to combat discrimination in social networks. These good practices and initiatives will be integrated in the Anti-Discrimination Pack 2.0 that will be published in November 2017, providing a set of resources and tools to tackle online discrimination. Please email us at: